Julian F. Fleron, Ph.D.

Professor of Mathematics

Welcome!

Welcome to my WWWebpage. Here I hope that you will find some interesting and useful stuff. Included here are lots of the things that keep me professionally and personally alive.

I don't really believe that Facebook or any other electronic media really lets you know somebody very well at all. So check this...

Professionally, I am a teacher. If you really want to know who I am, you will need to come see me in the classroom. This is my professional home, where I am most me.

Similarly, if you want to know more about what I am up to personally, take me out for a beer, check out what I am working on around the house, invite me and my family on an adventure, get me out to a show, etc.

Ongoing Projects and Current Initiatives

Discovering the Art of Mathematics - A NSF supported project to develop a library of guided-discovery texts for mathematics for liberal arts students.
Pictured here, Gabriel's Wedding Cake from Discovering the Art of the Infinite.

Project PRIME Promoting Resources for the use of Inquiry throughout Mathematics Education - A project to promote inquiry in mathematics educated supported by a gift from Mr. Harry Lucas.

Mathematical and Educational Quotation Server - A searchable database of mathematical and educational quotations.

ReVisioning Westfield

A 3-D community modeling project where WSC students created Google SketchUp models of much of downtown Westfield, MA.

Obaminoes

A mathematics, art and current event projects where Franklin Avenue Elementary School students built a mural of President Barack H. Obama from 44 sets (which is 2,420) dominoes.

Generalized Arithmetic Progressions (GAP) Page
42,197 + 11,970i + 22,680j + 43,230k are prime for i,j,k = 0, 1, 2
Original research in number theory by two WSC students directed by Prof. Marcus Jaiclin and myself.

Educated in Freedom - An edited collection of first-person narratives from students from free or alternative schools.

The Amazing Algebra Book: 20 Engaging Tricks by Julian F. Fleron and Ronald Edwards.

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae current as of May, 2008.
This vitae includes: education, areas of professional specialization, complete publications list, grants and awards, teaching and professional experience, service and activities, student research supervised, and conference participation.

Glimpses from My Classes

Included here are bits and pieces of things that provide glimpses of the things that go on in the classrooms I share with my students.

Learning Contract which sets out guidelines for our shared classroom. It's about as close to a teaching philosophy as I can come as I think there is a necessary coaction between teachers and students.

MA216 - Studies in the Literature of Mathematics materials to accompany our successful request that this course be included in the Literary and Philosophical Analysis area of the Westfield State College Core Curriculum. It is a very successful course and one of my favorites to teach.

Claims to Fame

Once called the Carl Sagan of mathematics.

Two time recipient of the "Outstanding Professor Award" as voted on by Westfield State College students.

I have Erdos number of 3. I jointly authored a paper with Prof. Paul Humke who has Erdos number 2 (through several Erdos number 1 authors, including Frederick Bagemihl.)

My original recipe for Mexican Lasagna was published in Gourmet Magazine.

I've known Ani DiFranco since she was three, she was my Sister's best friend growing up.

Ditto for John Henderson, who writes as John Wray (author of Lowboy, Canaan's Tongue, and The Right Hand of Sleep).

I babysat Jake Halpern (author of Dormia, Fame Junkies, and Braving Home) when he was little.

Loves - of the non-Human type (aka Hobbies)

Music, nature, reading, hiking, games, cycling, motorcycling , cooking, eating, drinking, old home restoration , woodworking, mathematics, epistemology,

Addictions

When asked how he had survived his many trials, Willie Nelson replied, "I choose my addictions very carefully."

Mine include: Learning, endorphine fueled exercise, good food, Kentucky bourbon, music, two wheeled vehicles, working with my hands, and thinking.

Favorites

A list of favorites, including books, music, people, etc.

Loves - Human Ones

Wonderful teachers and fellow travellers who have never been far away on the great trail that is my life:
Mom, Dad, and Ingeri
Addie and Jacob
Kris
Todd, Mary, Kates, and Buzz
KC, Jack, Junior, Kim and Lynn

Great school teachers and mentors who have always inspired me by trusting me with much greater things than I could have dreamed on my own:
Everybody at CCS - the Central Community School - you were all my teachers.
Mrs. Cohen, Mr. Nowarta, Mr. Frank Cecala and Ms. Janet Milosta at Public School #22 in Buffalo.
Mr. Richard Meith and Mr. Vickory at Bennett High School.
Prof. Jere Confrey at Cornell University.
Prof. Paul Humke in Minnesota.
Prof. Michael Range, Prof. Ed Thomas, Prof. Don Wilken, and Prof. Tim Lance at SUNYA.
Prof. Cathy Lilly, Prof. Bob McGuigan, Prof. Bruce King, Prof. Ron Edwards, Prof. Jim Carabetta, and Prof. Martin Henley at Westfield State.

Great peers to whom I am indebted:
John Holcomb, Andrew Clifford and Phil Hotchkiss from SUNYA
John Judge, Maureen Bardwell, Volker Ecke, Ted Welch, Deb Samwell, Karin Vorwerk, Chrissi von Renesse, Marcus Jaiclin, and Ken Haar from Westfield State.

I am supremely lucky to be surrounded by wonderful students with whom I can try to share the many gifts I have been given by my teachers.
Often these students teach me much more than I could ever teach them.
There are a few thousand over my two decades in teaching. I am grateful to them all.

Of special note are the following remarkable students:
Brandt Kronholm, Monique Despres, Mariya Kutsel, Chuck Allaire, Jen King, Jenny Kirouac, Michael Guenette, Mike Higgins, Stephen Sawyer, Skyler Wengreen, Kristi Richardson, Vanessa Williams, Stuart Ferguson, Mark Smith, Rosann Tefts, Julie Arrison, Adam Cardinal-Stakenas, Salim Ibrahim, Jason Gates, Matt Gaffney, Paul Marcinek, Rashida Price, Lyndsey Shook, Michelle Boussy, Nate Orzech, Myrta Gruenwald, Molly Martel, Gina Kennedy, Billy Jackson, Jodi Ball, Melissa Lathrop, Laura Murphy, Deb Palie, Matt Pegorari, Hallisey Lawton, Matt Castonguay, Sharon Kubik-Boucher, Cait Pendorf, Mark Green, Nicole Dowd, Kristen Johnson, Dan Edson, Lauren Vanden Bulke, Andrew Charko, Pat Dayton, Kat Quigley, Sam Kalisz,...
who have often taught me as much as I taught them.

Selected Civil Disobedience

The anti-war hippies that raised me instilled in me the greatest respect for the champions for social change, people like Martin Luther King, jr. and Mhatma Gandhi. I continue to be inspired by folks like Morris Dees, Barack Obama and Jonathan Kozol who show the utmost courage and dedication -- challenging us to change our world.

I too am a rebel and my aim is revolution. As a mathematician?!?! Yes, as a people's mathematician.

Whatever I may accomplish as a people's mathematician I will never make any claim to be in the company of Dees, Obama, and those I have mentioned above. My work will never directly solve the major human, social, health, economic, or political challenges we face. But when we require each of our children trudges off to mathematics class once a day for 12 of thier first 16 years with such generally poor results, it is absurd to neglect the situation as somewhat inconsequential.

In a country where leaving no child behind has come to mean concocting ever-increasingly elitist forms of education which measure our adherence to increasingly narrow content, taught via rote memorization/indoctrination, and in ways which insure the future of our great class distinctions, there are lots of ways to be a radical.

In a country where we routinely hear adults admit that, as if it is a badge of honor, they can't even balance their checkbook (while we would never say that about reading) we are ripe for revolution.

Mathematics, my art, has become a lost art in our culture. (See e.g. A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form by Paul Lockhart.) It is time for a fundamental change.

I work to challenge the prevailing systems, demonstrating that one can:

  • humanely teach
    • honest mathematics
      • in a meaningful way
        • at a historic state college (founded by Horace Mann as the first coeducational teachers college)
          • in a Commonwealth that so marginalizes public higher education.

Discovering the Art of Mathematics, Obaminoes, ReVisioning Westfield, and much of what I do is radical. I hope these things will inspire and encourage others to work for educational, social, and cultural change.

Other selections are included below:

As Captain Underpants, with ``Witch'' Deb Samwell, during Banned Book Week just after three Long Island, New York high schoolers had gotten expelled for similar Halloween atire. For all of the young boys that Captain Underpants has gotten to read we should give him a Medal of Honor.

To protest our lack of a contract and our disgraceful position as 49th in per capita spending on state public higher education (see my leaflet for more details) I held all of my Spring, 2005 office hours outside.

``Just words'' question for Governor Deval Patrick during his 27 February, 2008 visit to Westfield State College.

Governor Patrick promised that the "conversation would be very different" when he returned. It was - we are much angrier now that he has had the chance to support public higher education and has not. Here's my follow-up question.



Selected Letters

Was he serious? in The College Mathematics Journal.
"Teaching the romance of mathematics" in Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
Snowflakes offer a lesson in the study of evolution in Sunday Republican.
Governor should take a headmaster's holiday in Sunday Republican.
"Massachusetts signing bonus" from Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
Articles 'snowed' readers on science of snowflakes in Union-News.
Teachers, not Lt. Gov. Swift, deserve media attention in Union-News.
Revisions in math testing don't add up for students in Union-News.
In every mathematician is the soul of a poet in Union-News.
NBA lockout pales by comparison to faculty talks in Sunday-Republican.
Blame education policy for teacher test failures in Sunday-Republican.
Umass ignored state colleges in Union-News.

Contact Info

Julian F. Fleron, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematics
Westfield State College
Westfield, MA 01086
jfleron@westfield.ma.edu
413/572-5716
413/572-5617 (fax)

Hope to Add in Future Versions...

White Buffalo, rotating favorite quotes, HRUMC, Math Club Tees, Artistic stuff, etc.
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